FTC-Japan vs. Microsoft, au boasts 100 mil. ring tones & police arrest Japanese banker for money laundering

Business - July 16th, 2004

by Jim Dougherty

FAIR TRADE COMMISSION-JAPAN WARNS MICROSOFT: Bill Clinton and his administration spent tens of millions of dollars and several years in an attempt to prosecute Microsoft for alleged anti-monopoly violations. Microsoft was not totally vindicated, but for all practical purpos­es survived the ordeal.

Now Japan’s anti-monopoly authorities have issued a warning to Microsoft which has been under inves­tigation for violating anti-monopoly laws. So far the software giant has not been fined. An FTC spokesperson explains the warning against Microsoft is merely a symbolic move.

The Japanese Fair Trade Commission raided Microsoft’s Japan offices in February, looking for con­tracts with manufacturers that allegedly contained restrictive conditions designed to prevent patent infringe­ment lawsuits. Subsequently, Microsoft has dropped the clause in its new con­tracts, although the company claims the previous contractual provision is legal under Japanese, U.S. and European Union law.

Several Japanese computer manu­facturers are increasingly distressed about the domination of Windows in the computer industry.

AU “CHAKU UTA” RING TONES SURPASS 100 MILLION: KDDI recently announced that downloads of its chaku uta ring tone service for au brand mobile phones have surpassed 100 million.

Users of these third-generation mobile phones with high-speed and large-capacity data transmissions can enjoy 30-second excepts from a vast selection of popular songs. The service began in Japan more than 18 months ago.

JAPANESE BANKER ARRESTED FOR MONEY LAUNDERING: An arrest warrant for a former Japanese employee at Credit Suisse in Hong Kong has been issued by Japanese police. He is suspected of assisting Yamaguchi-gumi, allegedly one of Japan’s largest crime syndicates, with laundering ¥4.3 billion to hide profits obtained from illegal lending operations in Japan. The police estimate the total amount laundered could reach as high as ¥100 billion.

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Dear Jim: I heard from a friend that you can now receive movies and TV shows through the Internet via broadband serv­ice. Is it true and, if so, how? A. Nagura

According to NTT East, Plala Networks (www.plala.or.jp), a subsidiary of NTT East, is distributing multi-channel broadcast programs and movies to television sets via broadband service. They offer access to 30 channels and 1,000 movie titles, as well as other TV programming content.

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Business Tidbits

I went to McDonald’s in Los Angeles recently, looked at the menu, and saw you could have an order of six, nine or 12 Chicken McNuggets. Here in Japan, we are limited to five.

I asked for a half-dozen nuggets. “We don’t have a half-dozen nuggets,” said the teenager at the counter.

“You don’t?” I replied.

“We only have six, nine, or 12,” was the reply.

“So I can’t order a half-dozen nuggets, but I can order six?”

“That’s right.”

So I shook my head and ordered six McNuggets (kind of scary).

A lady was seen putting a credit card into her floppy drive and pulling it out very quickly. When inquired as to what she was doing, she said she was shopping on the Internet, and they asked for a credit card number, so she’s using the ATM “thingy.”

I recently saw a distraught young lady weeping beside her car. “Do you need some help?” I asked.

She replied, “I knew I should have replaced the battery to this remote door un-locker. Now I can’t get into my car. Do you think they (pointing to a distant con­venience store) would have a bat­tery to fit this?”

“Hmmm, I don’t know. Do you have an alarm too?” I asked.

“No, just this remote thingy,” she answered, handing it and the car keys to me.

As I took the key and manual­ly unlocked the door, I replied, “Why don’t you drive over there and check about the batteries; it’s a long walk.”

Several years ago, we had an intern who was not too swift. One day he was typing and turned to a secretary and said, “I’m almost out of typing paper. What do I do?”

“Just use copier machine paper,” the secretary told him. With that, the intern took his last remaining blank piece of paper, put it on the photocopier and pro­ceeded to make five “blank” copies.

(Note: My sincere thanks to the readers who sent in these jewels.)